DELPHOS – For years, Delphos St. John’s would run the power sweep. Then, it would run it some more.
And with running backs like tailback Tyler Jettinghoff and fullback Luke MacLennan, why not?
Jettinghoff ran for 1,620 yards last year with 29 TDs. MacLennan ran for 908 yards and seven TDs.
Both have graduated.
So, at least for this year, the power sweep is gone.
In its place will be more option football. The Blue Jays have replaced the power-I look with a one-back formation.
“Last year when we came into a game there’s no doubt what we were going to do and that was run the football,” St. John’s coach Todd Schulte said. “We were going to run a power game and we were going to run the option and we did those things very well. Our balance in our offense last year was power run, option. There was no such thing as hey, ‘We’re going to throw the ball to balance things out.’
“We tweaked a bunch this year. You’re not going to see two backs in the backfield for us. We had to go away from that. We had to make some tweaks to fit our personnel. … I don’t know if there’s a word power in our dictionary right now.”
So if power is out, what’s in?
“I think we have to be more of balanced team,” Schulte said. “We have to balance things up with the pass and the run game. We have a quarterback who runs the option very well and those are the things we’re going to lean on. … We’re an option team with one back.”
The Blue Jays return five starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that went 9-5 (6-2 Midwest Athletic Conference) and advanced to the state semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Marion Local.
Quarterback Nick Martz is back and will trigger the option. He ran for 615 yards and six TDs. In the air, he completed 49 of 112 for 633 yards. He threw four TDs.
“We think he’s a really good option quarterback,” Schulte said. “He makes really good decisions. He did a good job of it (running the option) last year.”
Also back is tight end Tyler Conley (6-4, 190), who had four receptions for 45 yards last year.
Returning on the offensive line are right tackle Austin Schulte (6-4, 235) and Wes Buettner (6-1, 215), who moves from guard to center this year.
Wide receiver/wingback Evan Hays returns after catching nine passes for 111 yards.
With Jettinghoff and MacLennan both gone, the running game is handed off to junior Evan Mohler ((5-8, 160) and senior James Harrison (5-11, 188).
“They’re both about the same speed,” Schulte said. “It’s a different type of running back and they’re in the option.”
Jordan Mohler, Zach Fischer, Aaron Reindel and Eric Vogt will join Hays at wide receiver.
Schulte said he’ll use his receivers with quick passes and screens.
“We’re going to try to be 50-50, run, pass,” he said.
The defense will have a new look, as well, as it changes from the traditional 4-3 to a 3-3 with a rover.
“We’re adjusting to our personnel,” Schulte said.
The nose guard will be veteran defensive tackle Trent Closson (6-2, 220). Alex Haunhorst (5-10, 190) is back at end.
Returning at linebacker is middle linebacker is Ausin Heiing, who had 102 tackles. He was second in tackles to graduated linebacker Cody Looser (145 tackles). Buettner moves from defensive end to linebacker.
Jordan Mohler is back at cornerback, while Martz returns to safety.
Hays (90 tackles, two interceptions) moves from safety to cornerback and will be assigned to guard the other team’s top receiver.
“The strength of our returning defense is our defensive backfield,” Schulte said.
The Blue Jays opens with Elida, then Lima Central Catholic.
St. John’s started the year 0-2 last year and ended up losing four games. But the Blue Jays rallied to make the playoffs and reached the state semifinals.
“If we can get through our schedule and get in the playoffs, we like our chances because we’ve seen that caliber of play already,” Schulte said.”